Why Apple May Have Paused Development of Its First Foldable Phone

Apple is reportedly working on a new category of products – foldable smartphones and/or tablets. This suggests that the Cupertino-based tech giant is gearing up to compete against its Android peers in the segment, which has recently seen increasing competition with newer brands entering the market. Apple has not yet officially announced its entry into the segment and previous reports on the matter have also hinted that the company is still in its research and development phase and is not prepared to launch anything soon. However, the firm has now allegedly hit a snag in the process.

Weibo user Fixed Digital Focus (translated from Chinese) claims in a post that Apple purchased several foldable smartphones from competing brands for dismantling and is “speeding up the research and development” process. The tipster added that the project has now stalled owing to a screen test not offering satisfactory results. 

Since the display is one of the major aspects of a foldable device, this is likely to push the timeline of the foldable product launch. Previous leaks suggested that Apple does not have its first foldable device in the company’s mass production plans for 2024 or 2025 and may launch it either by 2026 or 2027. 

The earlier leak also suggested that Apple is working on prototypes of at least two clamshell-style foldable iPhone models which could be expected to compete against Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip handsets. Clamshell foldable models are equipped with inner displays that fold horizontally.

Apple is also said to be developing a foldable smartphone with a screen that measures between 7.6 and 8.4 inches, which is larger than the display of any foldable smartphone currently available in the market. The report noted that it could either be a foldable smartphone or a tablet. This rumoured model had also been tipped to replace the iPad Mini, which was refreshed in 2021 and carries an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD panel.

Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 alongside the Galaxy Tab S9 series and Galaxy Watch 6 series at its first Galaxy Unpacked event in South Korea. We discuss the company’s new devices and more on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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